Should we “apologize no matter what?” Some people live by this motto. Generally, they are perceived as people-pleasers with weak spines. Their chief end is to avoid conflict. Others were children raised to “just apologize.” Others are those who want to “just keep the peace,” so they apologize. Others live by the phrase, “happy wife, happy life,” and therefore ask forgiveness for everything, even things they did not do. But should we really apologize no matter what?
Let’s start with the person who has a heart of stone. There are many times we should apologize. We should want to offer a sincere confession when we have wronged others, or even the God of this universe. However, those who almost never apologize are callous beings often with a pride issue. They can never be wrong. When we have trespassed against someone, we should express regret, apologize and move on.
But there are times when we should not apologize. Those are times when we have not done wrong. You say, “What would it hurt to just apologize no matter the situation?” There are a couple things at stake here.
First and foremost – truth is at stake. If there is something we clearly did not do, and I don’t mean some gray area that we may need to ask a pardon for, but something we clearly cannot be held in contempt for, we should not apologize. If we do, what are we really doing? Bearing false witness against ourselves. In fact, we are lying. Now we are breaking one of God’s Ten Commandments.
Is this not in part the story of the Old Testament Saint Job? His “friends” visit to offer comfort, but then begin to try to help him search for why he is suffering. One thing they have decided is that clearly Job must have sinned. He must confess to God. “If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy … He will rouse Himself for you and restore your right habitation,” said his advisor Bildad (Job 8:5-6).
Job, being in the most desperate state of almost any human in our history of the world, decides not to confess. Why? Does Job have the pride of Satan? No! In fact, we are told of no sin that Job committed for these calamities in his life. In fact, we see that “in all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:22). Job states several times, although at times he doubts himself, through the first 10 chapters that he has not sinned to bring this calamity upon himself. Job says, “I am blameless” in this current context (Job 9:20).
Besides lying, what could be a second ramification of apologizing for things we clearly are not guilty of? Secondly, it allows people to create an alternative reality. If they can define what is wrong in a situation, without merit or record, they have not become the arbitrator of what is true and right. This is a power that only God holds claim to. If we give in to false narratives, we have placed that person in a position which is not theirs.
Often, there are underlying things which need to be handled with the person making the false accusations. Those who lay claim to false accusations usually have things that they need to deal with personally. They are passing the buck, and differing in the situation. By allowing them to write the narrative, which doesn’t match truth, this also allows them to avoid dealing with those areas they’ve neglected for so long.
Lastly, Satan is a false accuser. Bringing sin into the light so that it can be confessed, forgiven, and paid for is God’s remedy toward godliness. Allowing people to make false accusations and charges is Satan’s strategy. Revelation 12:10 says Satan is ‘the accuser of our brothers.” In this context, Satan stands before the throne of God accusing us of our sin. But if we are in Christ, have been saved by Him, those sins have been atoned for. The bill is paid. There is nothing that we stand guilty of before God.
Those who make false accusations are in the line of Satan. Or those who bring up our sins of the past that we have already confessed to them do the same. If guilt has been covered, there is no reason to bring it up again. If we stand guiltless, we cannot confess.
How do you handle false accusations? Do you confess and apologize for everything, or just that which you are guilty of? When you forgive someone, do you let it go, or do you continue to hold on to that which has already been paid for? Do you speak truth, or give into lies of confessing for things you have not done?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.